Online Video – Where is the interactivity?

Lots of people call out great videos on YouTube.  The Keyboard Cat and Double Rainbow probably have as much unaided awareness as Coke Zero and this shouldn’t be surprising, video works.  TV advertising and millions of dollars of research has proven that over 50 years.

My question is as video moves online, how will it become more interactive?  YouTube has their Creative Gallery which talks about adding a set of different techniques:

  • Overlay Information
  • Outbound Links
  • Branching Storylines
  • Interactive Scenes

and there are a number of other companies offering tools like Video Tagging.  But none of these seem to be catching on a real advertising unit or interactive tool.
We can’t say it all hasn’t been hyped.  In 2006 Business Week ran an article “Video Tagging Gets Cool.”  In 2007 MGM Grand’s “Maximum Vegas Tour” had clickable areas for overlay information and navigation and won a Bronze Cannes Lion.  Today, Maximum Vegas is still on MGM Grand’s site, but it is a linear video.  Video tagging isn’t talked about and few videos include hotspots, branching storylines or even adjacent content tied to the video timeline. 
When you look at a case like Samsung’s “Follow Your Instinct” you see a branching video story that has high production values and sexy actors, but only 300k views.  Perhaps the product message is too strong to go viral like Double Rainbow (28 million views) or keyboard cat (15 million) or even Old Spice’s man on a horse (where the making of had 1.7m views).
It is well understood that video assets made for TV end up on YouTube and that they will be linear.  But all of us are also filming for digital channels and catching outtakes and looking to push the envelope to make our work more engaging. 
Why not more interactivity?

Cream Cheese? Real Women of Philadelphia

This case study grabbed my attention from Fast Company and then ClickZ.  The promotion is fairly common for a user-gernated competition to get people excited about recipes involving a specific product, but what is less amazing are the results.

The Promotion

8 Month Campaign

Paula Deen celebrity Food Network Star

Launch video had celeb request recipes

2 winners from each week compete in final showdown

winners host next season’s competition

YouTube takeover on launch day


Launch video seen by 51m people

10m watched the entire video

100k clicked through (1%)

25m recipe views

691,241 visitors who spend an average of 4:28 on the site. There are 4,373 registrants on the site.

Philly’s sales up 5%